Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

 
cuttingcable
Topic Author
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:07 pm

Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:11 pm

Brand new here. I'd just like some pros and cons as to whether or not I should jump the cable ship. I'd like to hear about the overall costs invo\lved and what costs gets you. In other words, if I pay for Hulu plus, what do I get for content. The same goes for Netflix. I'd just like to compare apples to oranges and see if it's worth it. Thanks
 
RWatson
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:13 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:24 pm

If you will search this forum you can get lots of information on your request. Netflix is great except for all the comments about available comment.
 
mikebdoss
** Valued Community Member **
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Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:52 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:31 pm

Each company's website will be able to give you the best rundown of the available content. Be aware that only Hulu+ (NOT regular Hulu) is available on streaming-to-TV devices like the Roku.

We cut cable about 4 months ago, and it's a very different TV experience. Many of the same shows are available if you go looking, and we've found a few new ones via various Roku channels. Some shows, however, you just won't find. Same goes for live sports - due to licensing agreements, those typically just don't show up streaming anywhere. That said, if you've got an OTA antenna and either a newish (less than 7 years old) TV or a converter box, you can supplement your Roku with a lot of good 'ol network television.
 
tekpedia
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:51 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:04 pm

I just did this and wrote an article on my blog. http://tekpedia.net

Good Luck
 
kumasuki
Posts: 1561
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:45 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:14 pm

tekpedia wrote:
I just did this and wrote an article on my blog. http://tekpedia.net

Interesting blog post - but you have a dead link when clicking on 'part 2' at the bottom of the entry for 'part 1' (I had to go back to the top of the page where the 'part 2' link is working).
--------------------------------------
Roku XDS; DSM-520; HDX1000 w/1TB drive; Neuros; Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR; HDHomeRun; Vudu; VuNow HD; Boxee Box
 
lisak
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:06 am

Since no one answered this, here are my entertainment costs at the moment:

NBA League Pass approximately $9/month (paid for the year all at once) to replace the Comcast Sports channel my team was on. The Roku doesn't play this so I watch on my PC.

Netflix $9.99 a month (although we had this while we had cable too so it's not REALLY an additional cost).

Hulu Plus $7.99 a month.

We were paying almost $90 a month for regular expanded cable with HD and DVR options. No premium channels.

$9 + $9.99 + $7.99 = $26.98 per month, a cost savings of about $60 a month. And when you consider I'd been paying for Netflix anyway for a couple years anyway, it's really more like $70 a month savings. That's a lot of money for our family so it was a no brainer for me. The decision might be harder if you're into watching tons of network shows, but I mostly watched basketball and my kids mostly used the Comcast On Demand to watch their kid shows over and over. The few network shows I watched are all available on Hulu Plus.
 
Crow550
** Valued Community Member **
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Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:36 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:15 am

What kind of TV do you have?

If it's an HDTV then it most likely has a digital OTA tuner. Get a cheap pair of rabbit ears and check out what Over The Air offers too.

Also check out the channels Roku offers too: http://www.roku.com/roku-channel-store

Over The Air + Streaming should suit your needs well.... :wink:
 
krisbee
Posts: 1065
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:22 am

Crow550 wrote:
What kind of TV do you have?

If it's an HDTV then it most likely has a digital OTA tuner. Get a cheap pair of rabbit ears and check out what Over The Air offers too.

Also check out the channels Roku offers too: http://www.roku.com/roku-channel-store

Over The Air + Streaming should suit your needs well.... :wink:


I would also suggest using Windows Media Center or MythTV, getting a tv card or a hdhomerun box, and setting up to record your favorite shows on regular OTA programming, with the option to transcode that to a roku friendly format. This way you can stream your regular shows as well (Office, Fringe, etc.). No rush to do that, but then you will get the DVR aspect on your roku for regular shows. With all the content that is on OTA and subchannels, you would be surprised at how much TV you can get for free. Adding the ability to record and play it back later with very little CPU usage, it would be impressive. Add Netflix and suddenly you might have TOO much to watch.

You would probably do well getting a media center channel (cheap at $15, one time fee), so you can store this stuff (or other things) on another computer and share it. I can put videos I find on the internet, or make, on the main computer and watch at my leisure on the roku. Lots of people are transcoding their dvd libraries so they will be available at an instant on any roku in their house.
 
paul2102
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 6:18 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:48 pm

I cut the cable over a year ago and will never go back.

I have OTA for local networks, Roku for internet streaming with Netflix ($7.99/mo) and MLBTV (around $110/yr), and Apple TV for iTunes streaming and subscribed podcasts. Total investment was under $200 which has way more payed for itself in saved cable charges.

Lots more to watch than with cable, we don't miss it at all.

Funny thing, about 6 months after we cut the cable,(and switched to Fios internet only), the cable company came by and took photos of our access pole, and of the end of our house where our antenna is located. I guess they couldn't believe anyone could be without their services.
 
pwang8
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:32 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:14 pm

I went the OTA route too. Built my own antenna with garden wire from Lowes. Canceled Dish two years ago. Only has $9.99/mon Netflix bill. It cost me $105 for my Roku box 2.5 years ago and about $600 to build my HTPC two years ago. I think I am way ahead after these past two years. Also OTA HD signal is better than the over compressed cable/satellite HD signal. Although like satellite, the signal is bad in very severe weather.

Youtube is starting to add a lot of HD content recently, but the constant buffering for HD video drives me nuts. Regular Hulu is easy to access with HTPC if I missed some new episodes of a show. If not available in Hulu, I can visit the network web site directly.

But it might not be for everyone. Since my interest is NFL, it's OK because there are about 4 games per week OTA. Can not say the same about the other sports. But I understand Roku has MLB.
 
RocknRoll
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:10 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:05 pm

The idea of cutting the cable is a good one to save money if your carrier will let you get away :D . I looked at this option as a failsafe option also...like what If I lose my job? What would I do, and what would be cut?

I think if you are considering this option..you should get an OTA antenna and a streaming device..and I say ROKU. Once you have the antenna, see what channels you get for free and then decide how much the others channels are worth... which I call a " price point "for the TV carriers service.

If you have an old TV , you need a digital-to-analog converter box and most likely a small indoor uhf/vhf antenna. Each of these items can be had for under $50. I use a Zinwell converter and a TERK HDTVa I got from amazon for under $100 and I get 31 digital channels including unique programming that each of area carriers only have some of the channels ( not all). No recurring fees and I have extra additive entertainment whether I cut the cord or not. This is not junk, all religious or spanish channels either. I have many favorites that I watch regularly.

I bought the ROKU XD box on the Black friday sale at about $70 . I bought this mainly because I wanted the Drive-In Package at $3 a year, use this as a negotiating tool to reduce my TV bill and maybe check out Netflix if I lost my tv. Well that part worked..and DIRECTV did give me a deal to keep from leaving. I am still prepared to cut with them unless they continue to meet my price point ( the value their service is worth to me).

I joined Netflix ( 30 days for free) and still checking it out along with the other 20 million subscribers they have. Doesnt have everything I want streaming but I did find a lot. Rather than say its $8 a month and multiply by 12...you know you can suspend your membership? You can burn thru their catalog and then take off for a few months and then come back.

I have an offer with the ROKU purchase for a month free of HULU PLUS. I will be activating that soon. I dont expect it to work out based on the reviews I read but we will see. More free stuff from Roku 8) . Online HULU may work just fine.

Finally , you know there is BIGSTAR TV. Lots of other lesser known films and foreign deals too. They have a month free as well before going to $5 a month. Again , no long term contract and can cancel.

Now Roku added a bunch of channels at Christmas..like Pub-A-Dub so you have all the creature feature films Elvira shows. Rumors that Frightology is coming . Maybe Espn since its coming to XBOX? Would VUDU also show up?

Did I mention that Roku now has Amazon VOD and there are rumors that amazon wants to launch a competitor service to Netflix and maybe will have HBO streaming. Now which streamer will be first in line to get that service...bet on ROKU.

My answer...get the antenna and a roku..take the free ride..and then decide how much Tv really means to you. As my TV guy said to me after giving me another discount to keep me from cancelling...its nice to have options isnt it?
 
mikeexplorer
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:39 pm

For my case, I was spending over $70 a month on Directv and using it maybe two hours a night. I would only watch a certain block of channels (which of course isn't on a cheaper plan) so with some financial crunching going on I decided to get rid of Directv and my land line, saving over $100 a month now. I do miss some shows I watched on Discovery and Science channel but I found plenty to watch on Netflix. It was just too much money for Directv where I only watched within a 10 block channel. (History International to Science Channel) that was it.

Mike
 
Robert99
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:38 am

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:39 pm

The streaming experience is a lot different than cable. There is actually more content available via this route then cable has, but (in most cases) it is not the same content.

In general the ROKU is better at accessing "video on demand", whereas "cable" is mostly "live channels". The ROKU does support some "live streams", but only a limited number of ROKU channels use that feature (and none are really good "cable" replacements).

So if you are thinking about using a ROKU as a cable replacement, the key question to ask yourself is "Will I be happy doing my own searches for content that I want to watch, and if so will that desired content be available?". Or will you find it unacceptable to lose some key (cable) channels you have grown to love (if only love a program or two on those channels)?

And one of the better ways to answer that question, is to just get the ROKU (and an antenna for getting free over the air HD TV broadcasts) and then see for yourself if the new content is enough to keep you (and your spouse) happy, or if there is still some cable features/channels you "can't live without". Remember, even if you eventually decide to keep cable, the new video (and streaming audio) options the ROKU (not to mention the OTA TV antenna) will give you are likely to be a very nice/welcome addition to your available programming. And if you do decide (after setting that up) that you want to drop cable, you will have made an informed decision as to what you will be giving up and what you will be getting.

As to what I like personally, I am currently using a mix of NetFlix and the free channels/programming the ROKU has available. NetFlix has a huge library of streaming content (both movies and older TV shows), and isn't that costly per month. And even if this content is mostly older fare (with a little newer stuff thrown in), it often is enough to keep us entertained (especially when combined with other options, including free over the air digital TV). And for only slightly more per month, you can get both NetFlix streaming AND their older "DVD by mail service". Since the NetFlix DVD by mail service (for cost/licensing reasons) still has much more content (including newer content) than their streaming service has, their DVD by mail service is a nice way to "fill in the programming gaps" not available via streaming.

NOTE: Don't overlook the TV antenna in the mix. After the digital TV conversion, TV antennas have become much more useful. Not only did the DTV conversion allow for HD programming free "over the air", but (perhaps more significant for picture quality) new digital TV signals often stay almost perfect until they cut out entirely (whereas the older analog TV technology quickly had "snow" and other problems when you moved even a little away from the broadcast tower). And the other major change since the DTV conversion is the introduction of "sub-channels" (multiple programming sources running on the same frequency/channel at the same time). Almost all modern TVs (as well as older analog TVs with conversion boxes) can tune in these separate digital sub-channels (as if they were different real channels), and it has resulted in a great increase in effective "channels" you can tune in "for free" using just an antenna. For example, my local PBS affiliate went from broadcasting only one channel (in the older analog TV days) to now being three (over the air digital TV) sub-channels: Their main PBS programming in HD (this was also their only channel/programming in the analog TV days), an educational channel associated with a local University (in lower SD resolution), and a sub-channel called "Create" (dealing with cooking, travel, and handyman programming) that is also in SD. Similar sub-channel additions occurred by our local ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates (all of which added some extra SD quality programming on sub-channels, while retaining their main HD programming on their primary channel).
 
hn333
Posts: 497
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:11 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:26 pm

cuttingcable wrote:
Brand new here. I'd just like some pros and cons as to whether or not I should jump the cable ship. I'd like to hear about the overall costs invo\lved and what costs gets you. In other words, if I pay for Hulu plus, what do I get for content. The same goes for Netflix. I'd just like to compare apples to oranges and see if it's worth it. Thanks


Well I'm planning to cancel Directv on Monday, and I'll just be using Netflix and OTA. No interest in Hulu +, will be using torrents.
 
Razmataz
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:53 pm

Re: Thinking of cutting the cable, help me out.

Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:17 pm

Great posts!

I finally gathered up the courage to drop my $85/month Comcast TV habit in January. Programming now is OTA (I purchased a used Tivo HD DVR plus rabbit ears suitable for HDTV and will upgrade to an attic antenna later), plus Roku.

Thought I'd miss the History Channel. I don't. I am surprised (as I rediscover PBS) that its script and production values absolutely blow History Channel out of the water, with series like The American Experience, NOVA, Nature, more. Plus, no commercials.

Unlike cable TV, the OTA HD is uncompressed and looks gorgeous.

Had thought about building a media PC and may consider it one day, but Tivo, for a low subscription price of $13/month, was too easy to pass up, an elegant turnkey solution I could instantly swap in place of Comcast DVR.

Mostly I'm excited that I'm no longer paying big bucks to a model I had grown weary and resentful about, as cable TV kept jacking up the rates to an astronomical level, just for TV service alone, and offered insultingly small 'incentive' offers when I asked if they could reduce my rate to try to keep me as a customer. $1,020 bucks a year, just for TV? - and I didn't even get premium channels, nor the tier of service with non-premium movie channels, so that fee didn't buy me much more than local channels which now come into my home for free. I occasionally visit TBS' website to catch Conan - one of my few "gee, I miss that" shows. But really: I've been too busy to look back.

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